Sheriff offers land to county

Carter wants supervisors to consider property for new sheriff’s headquarters

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County’s sheriff says property once used in a federal investigation might work as a site for a new headquarters.

Sheriff Timothy Carter has offered to give the 5.13-acre property on Old Valley Pike in Woodstock to the county. Carter touts the property as a potential location for a new sheriff’s office.

“I hope that they’ll consider using it as [a] potential sheriff’s office site,” Carter said.

Supervisors have authorized the sheriff to use money the agency receives from assets seized in law-enforcement operations to pay for architectural and engineering work on a new office. The sheriff’s office plans to seek a firm to design a new facility.

“We have a needs assessment that the county commissioned 10 years ago,” Carter said. “We have a draft [request for proposals] for architectural and engineering design for a sheriff’s office and I know it would be beneficial to have a site that you have in mind if you’re going to do that. It would kind of help refine that process.”

Federal law enforcement agencies acquired the property for an undercover operation, to protect the integrity of the investigation and to protect the agents involved, Carter said. As those investigations near their conclusion, the federal agencies have expressed no further interest in the site, Carter said. The sheriff explained that part of his responsibility now is to make sure the county gets the property.

Supervisors must vote on whether or not to accept the property, but the county doesn’t have to hold a public hearing on the transfer. The board and Carter briefly discussed the sheriff’s offer at a work session on Thursday.

Introducing the topic on Thursday, Supervisors Chairman David Ferguson noted,
“I think everyone knows where this is by now.”

“He’s now ready to transfer this to the county and it would be transferred without any restrictions or conditions other than those already on the property,” Ferguson said.

Improvements to the property include a roof added to one of the buildings on the site along with general maintenance and landscaping.

County real estate information shows that Woodstock SPE LLC owns the property that includes two parcels at 810 and 816-820 N. Main St. The information lists an address for Woodstock SPE LLC as One Federal Place, 1819 5th Ave. N, Birmingham, Alabama.

The county last assessed the property — both parcels with improvements — at $1.43 million, according to real estate records.

“Right now, because of how it’s held, there’s still taxes paid on it,” Ferguson said.

County Administrator Mary Beth Price said the owner pays $6,593 in real estate taxes on the property. The county no longer would collect the taxes on the property.

Records show that Woodstock SPE LLC bought the property from Toothman & Grabills Holdings LLC in late December 2010 for $1.4 million. The property includes two buildings — the old Woodstock Rehab Center and Racey’s Auto Repair. Ferguson pointed out the property lies adjacent to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles building.

Earlier this summer, the board discussed in closed session the possibility of the county buying a neighboring piece of property slated for sale at auction that it could then use for a new sheriff’s office. The board did not pursue the idea further. The privately owned land is near the county government center at 600 N. Main St. The county would have had to pay for the property.

That discussion prompted the sheriff to offer the other property, Carter said Friday.

“We didn’t want the county to go out and buy property when we knew that, at some point, the county was going to be given property adjacent to this property that had been foreclosed on,” Carter said. “So we wanted to make sure that before any decision like that was made that the county knew that they were getting it, that it wasn’t just something we were talking about, that it’s actually coming to fruition. So now we’re there.”

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com